The Budget Traveler’s Guide to Amsterdam


Welkom in Amsterdam! The Dutch cultural capital is rich of paradoxes: old and modern, traditional, yet so open-minded. Amsterdam reflects the best of everything the Netherlands have to offer the world. It is hard to imagine that a city of such international significance has less than a million inhabitants. In fact, there are always more people visiting than living here.

Yes, everything in Amsterdam is charming; from world-class craft beers, to century-old cultural treasures. Should you make the trip, here are some low-key, high-class things to do that won’t take you into the infamous Red Light District.

Sunset on the Amsterdam Canals
photo credit: mau_ry via photopin cc

1. Do the Museum Tour

It would take you days to visit over the 50+ museums around. For the most culturally relevant, head to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The Anne Frank House is a must-see for history sake. That said, make your Amsterdam museum tour eccentric. There are museums dedicated to cats, torture, and… carnal knowledge… just to name a few. Explore!

Anne Frank House in Amsterdam
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2. Explore Amsterdam on Yellow Bike

Amsterdam is evergreen and modern. To get around this big urban village, nothing beats the city’s yellow bikes. They allow you to get off the beaten paths and discover Amsterdam’s true beauty and hidden spots.

Amsterdam Yellow Bike
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3. Tour Amsterdam’s Water Labyrinth

It is thanks to its water canals that Amsterdam earned its moniker of “Venice of the North”. They date back to the 17th century, and feature on the UNESCO’s world heritage list. Also, they run throughout the city, making them an original way to get around. You will find boat tours, but if you can, hop on a pedal boat to explore the city at your own chilled pace.

Amsterdam Water Labyrinth
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4. Visit the Vondelpark

Vondelpark is the rendezvous point for year-round free and fun activities. From the weekly Friday Night Skate run to the annual Golf tournament to the summer live concerts; you will find something to do here. The park itself has some interesting monuments and buildings worth seeing.

Amsterdam Vonderpark

photo credit: Bas van Gaalen via photopin cc

5. Go Shopping

For over 300 years, the Albert Cuyp street market has been attracting crowds. They come for bargains on food, clothes and much more. Even if you are not a buyer, it is a good place to experience another side of Dutch lifestyle; humorous and laid back.

Otherwise, your shopping experience will be incomplete without a visit to Amsterdam’s vintage boutiques. Thrift shoppers will find many places where to get chic for cheap.

No matter where you decide to go, almost every neighborhood in Amsterdam has its own market and there are specialized markets for almost every possible thing.

Amsterdam Albert Cuyp Street
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6. Seat in a “Cafe brun”

The literal translation of the name would be “brown coffee house”. The name comes from the brownish color of the wooden walls tainted with years of nicotine and caffeine vapors. A “cafe brun” is the place to soak in on Amsterdam’s popular culture. Come taste the best of Dutch cuisine and beer.

Amsterdam Coffee House

7. Enjoy a cocktail in Tales & Spirits

They describe themselves as “a home away from home” with culinary and cocktail mixing skills meant to wow patrons. In fact, this Amsterdam cocktail bar is good enough to feature as a finalist of all major world mixology awards. Did we mention that they also love food and art? Definitely a place to start the evenings before exploring Amsterdam’s rich nightlife.

Cocktail bar

Let’s end our visit of Amsterdam here, we are getting dangerously closer to the city’s nightlife and its infamous Red Light District. Let us know what you think of this list. What would you add to it? Tell us more about that in the comment box below.

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The Budget Traveler's Guide to Amsterdam
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What to do in Amsterdam during the day? Check out our budget traveler's guide to iconic attractions throughout the city: canals, boutiques, cafés and more.
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